Saturday, July 15, 2006

One year gone

One year is over. Almost. Officially there are two more days to go. It was on this very day last year that I ‘reported’ for my first job. My actual joining was on the 18th of July 2005.

A lot has happened during this one year. I have learnt a lot, and also forgotten a lot. I have gained a lot of experience. Most of it was invaluable, but some of it I would rather do without. I have made some new friends, and some new enemies… no, that’s too strong a word. Let me say I’ve lost a few friends. Today, I feel it won’t be a bad idea to look back on this past year in the software industry, and make a balance sheet of what I lost and gained.

I have learnt a little bit of three languages: Tamil, Telugu, and… a language which Chetan Bhagat calls “Managese”. While Tamil and Telugu are unintelligible to people who don’t know them, Managese (the language of managers) is unintelligible even to the person who is speaking it. Actually the purpose of Managese is to confuse and impress people, at the same time making sure they don’t understand anything. Naturally, the listeners will never confess they didn’t understand, like the spectators of the emperor’s new clothes. I am not master at this language yet. Once I become one, most of my blog posts may look like this.

I have learnt that bosses are always right. Automated response systems are always right. Data entry operators never make mistakes. HR managers are the best/ most accurate people on earth. If my gender is shown as “Female” in the office database, it is obviously my mistake. I must have stated the wrong gender. If my mails are reaching a wrong person it is I who must have given his ID as my own. Similarly, if my location of posting is a thousand miles away from the place I wanted, that is not due to any error but due to the business requirement, a business requirement that requires me to sit in the free pool for months.

I have made a few new friends. Oh yes, in spite of what I may have said earlier, I do have a few friends in office. Shreevallabh, Abhijit, Samiraj, Nishamathi and Naveen are the ones who have always been there for me, putting up with my idiosyncrasies. Then there are wonderful people like Archana, Sweta, Sonali, Sushil, Arpit, Tandav, Uma, Kanik, Debanjana (and many others all of whom I can’t name) who kept in touch whenever possible. I rediscovered my friendship with some old school and college friends… Chirantan, Amit, Rohit, Smita, Ashutosh, Swati, Shweta, Akash, Zeb. And I found some lost friends, most notably Fahad, Mohit and Aditya, thanks to e-mail and Orkut. And yes, I made some wonderful online friends, like Smita, Shashi and Bhavana. It’s nice to know that there are people who are weird like me (or in some other way), and they are ready to accept me as I am. Of course there were people like S… no, let’s not take names… So there were people who clung to me as long as they needed me and walked away with better friends (as they said) when I needed them most, but well, one can’t have everything!

I have traveled a lot this year. I had never seen the sea before, and in this one year I have seen both the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. I have seen Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. I’ve also seen Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. I intend to travel more in the days to come. On the 18th I’m supposed to go to Bangalore for a day for official work. Personally too, I have been planning trips, but am not finding the time to travel. Hopefully I’ll be able to travel to more places in South India soon. I also had my first flying experience this year, albeit in a totally unplanned way.

I have developed a few new hobbies: cooking, digital photography, and of course blogging, over the last year. Cooking was more of a necessity, but photography and blogging? Actually they were necessary too. It is not by mere coincidence that so many IT professionals have these two hobbies. The work here is brain numbing; like a coolie’s job. Creative people need some way to vent their creativity, or they’ll die of frustration. Blogging and digital photography are easy hobbies to maintain. I have almost lost touch with drawing and painting, except probably occasionally pencil sketching a colleague at a meeting. I have lost touch with stamp collection, flash animation, and my biggest love: computer programming. Yes, it may sound odd, but not everyone in the software industry knows or does programming. The standard industry practice is, naturally, to teach programming to novices who don’t want to do it, and assign the non-programming work to the programming nerds. A line from Satyajit Ray’s Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne comes to mind, “Projara ja chay ta jodi na bole, tahole seta pawar path bandho kora jaay ki?” (the minister says, “If the people can’t say what they want, how can we prevent them from getting it?”). A few years down the line, you have two people who are experts in their domains, both of whom hate their jobs.

Did I say my biggest love was programming? I’m sorry, that was wrong. My biggest love was reading, and it remains so. I find less time for reading these days though. Ah yes, I have learnt a little bit of table-tennis as well. And I continue to do Origami.

But most importantly, I have learnt business. I have learnt politics. I have learnt that in the industry you can’t open your heart even to your closest friend. You don’t care whether the thing you are doing is right or not, it should seem right. You don’t warn somebody whom you find heading in the wrong direction. If they lose their way, you stand to gain. Here nobody is bothered about how much you know or how much you work. Only thing that is important is how much you seem to know and how much you seem to work. You only talk to people whom you need, help only those who are useful or powerful. And I have learnt enough to stop right here, because writing a politically incorrect blog post may not go down too well with people who matter. Not that they read my blog, but still, just in case…


  1. yeah. It was bit different. This year had many faces from our future point of view. It is foundation. We learnt many things. This year tought us what it costs by being professionals. And many things..I think I will write one article as you suggested.

    A very nice post. Three cheers for 1 year experience in IT field.

  2. chakri-r chorki porechho tayi bolchi. shabdhaan. minefield bNachiye kintu rhodhodendron gulo dekhte na bhule cholo.

  3. @abhijit: Yes. A lot of things I'd love to remember, a lot that I'd rather forget. But overall it was great.

    @hutumthumo: Sabdhanei khelchhi dada. Rhododendron na dekhle to tike thakai jabena ekhane.